Why Nursology?: The Perspective of an International PhD Student

Guest contributor: Toqa Alanby

Toqa Alanby

Hello, my name is Toqa Alanby MSN, BSN, RN, from Saudi Arabia, a full-time nursing PhD student in Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University. I have chosen to begin the pursuit of my academic career in Nursing with a sense of determination. Through my B.Sc. in Nursing from Umm Al-Qura University (Mecca, Saudi Arabia), my English program at INTO University of South Florida (Tampa, Florida, US), and my M.Sc. in Nursing from Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin (Dublin, Ireland), I have dedicated my life to advance my nursing knowledge and skills.

I was introduced to the Nursology website by Dean Marlaine Smith, my advisor, as she said, “websites are vehicles to assist us in coming to know an organization.” The Nursology website is a quantum leap in nursing. Nurse scholars, nurses in clinical settings, and postgraduate students, all of them, can be involved by joining or just by browsing this site. It was designed and maintained by nurse scholars with sufficient experience who can enrich the nursing profession throughout the world. For me as an international PhD student who came from a different background, I found it as a repository for sources about nursing conceptual models, grand theories, middle-range theories, and situation-specific theories, philosophies and related methodologies. It is momentous to nursing practice, education and scientific research because it is a guide to what is already known and what further knowledge and skills are required. Also, I found it as a station that can connect to the pioneers of the nursing profession, a link to enable us to communicate with them easily.

Exploring the website, gave me a better understanding about the history of nursing in the United States. Furthermore, it reminded me of how nursing started in Saudi Arabia. In both cases war had an impact on the development of nursing. For instance, the first mention of nursing in Saudi Arabia was during the time of the Prophet Muhammad in the service of the Muslim armies during periods of war. Women accompanied veterans as companions and caretakers. According to Jan (1996) nursing activities carried over into peacetime when the women served as midwives and continued to nurse the sick and dying.  Subsequently nursing concepts emerged to inform this practice.

Nurses, nursing students and other health professionals understand and view nursing differently. Many definitions have been used to define the concept of nursing. Sapountzi-Krepia (2013) justifies this diversity due to different educational backgrounds, cultures and experiences. Now that nursing is based on the interaction with others, caring appears as one of its central concepts. The concept of care emerged during the decade of the 1950’s; however many factors hampered its progress. It was not until two decades later that not only the first National Caring Research Conference but also the publication of Leininger’s and Watson’s theories stimulated the interest of researchers in the concept (Brilowski & Wendler, 2005). Caring seems to be inherent to nursing practice and originates from respect and concern for the patients, which is a skill that evolves with experience. As for my culture, caring from the Islamic perspective refers to a critical, reflective analysis of what we think we know about our universe and ourselves. Saeed (2006) mentioned that the Islamic philosophy is rooted in the attempt to understand reality rationally. The Qur’an, the Holy book of Muslim faith, and the Sunnah, which documents the life and practices of the prophet, built the Islamic belief system.

Outside of the nursing community, when I talk about nursing science, I always have been asked what distinguishes nursing science from other disciplines? Cowling, Smith & Watson. (2008) answered this question by stating that there are 3 fundamental concepts which are wholeness, consciousness, and caring singled out and positioned in the disciplinary discourse of nursing to distinguish it from other disciplines. In my opinion, nursing implies an intentional activity, attitudes and feelings that shape the professional interaction established between nurses and patients.

Having an understanding of these perspectives will inform health professionals to achieve cultural competence and deliver care that is culturally sensitive (Rassool, 2014). Individualized, holistic care can be achieved by apprehending culture, beliefs and ethnicities, and a display of cultural competence. I saw Dr. Sadat Hoseini’s model on the Nursology website as a model that comes from a Muslim perspective. It is wonderful and informative. However, there is a great diversity of cultural, tribal and linguistic groups among Muslim societies, each of which has its own cultural characteristics and worldview of well-being and sickness. Delivering nursing care to Muslim patients means having an insight of Islamic faith and Islamic beliefs. Thus, what goes on in Saudi Arabia is totally different from what Dr. Hoseini’s model looks for. She is from a different culture, country, and doctrine.

Based on my experience, non-Muslim nurses who work in my country are not able to utilize the existing knowledge and framework of health from Islam to enhance the nursing profession. The inability to shape nursing practice, education, and policy from an Islamic perspective can be attributed to multiple factors such as social status of nursing in the country, professional identity of nurses, and societal approval and recognition (Ismail et al., 2015). Therefore, the professional development of nursing among Muslim nurses is based on utilizing Western practice, education, and ethical models instead of integrating the holistic view of Islam (Gharaibeh & Al-Maaitah, 2012). The curricula of our colleges in Saudi Arabia still follow the theories that come from the United States (F. AlShaibany, personal communication, April 25, 2019). Though, in general, the development of nursing theories and models are almost neglected in Saudi Arabia, whether in education or practice. While nursing students know about nursing theories, they most likely don’t see them as a part of their practice. They also tend more to use theories from other disciplines such as change theories instead of nursing theories.

I was eager to explore nursing from another perspective and the Nursology website was a vehicle to achieve this purpose.  The Western concept is the most visible and distinctive in the site. I believe this site will be a real connection for other nurses around the world to the study of Western nursing. Thus, I hope one day to join the great scholars here to advance Nursology forward and perhaps contribute by sharing my theoretical work from a different cultural point of view. My goal is to embark on an academic career and to conduct research.  In other words, scholars absorb and integrate information coming from the world around them as they create their own work. The role they play calls for the development and maintenance of collective learning and comprehension. A scholar’s work, according to Boyer’s (1990) definition, calls for taking a step backwards from the investigation, searching for connection, and bridging the gap between theory and practice while having one’s knowledge communicated effectively (p.16).

Being able to comprehend and associate with nurses of different cultures is vital for nursing advancement. Understanding cultural differences among nursing perspectives is essential. By educating ourselves about different cultures through communication with diverse nurses in conferences, organized meetings, and engagement with a website like Nursology can prepare us well to broaden our perspectives on nursing knowledge from all over the world in multiple cultures.

References

Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered. Princeton, NJ: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Brilowski, A., & Wendler, C. (2005). An evolutionary concept analysis of caring. J Adv Nurs (50), 641-50.

Cowling, W.R., Smith, M.C. & Watson, J. (2008). The power of wholeness, consciousness, and caring: A dialogue on nursing science, art, and healing. Advances in Nursing Sciences, 31(1), 41-51.

Alshaibany, F. (2019, April 25). Personal Interview.

Gharaibeh, K. & Al-Maaitah, R. (2012). Islam and Nursing, in Religion, Religious Ethics, and Nursing. Spinger New York, NY. p. 229-249.

Ismail, S., Hatthakit, U., & Chinawong, T. (2015). Caring science within islamic contexts: a literature review. Nurse Media Journal of Nursing, 5(1), 34. doi:10.14710/nmjn.v5i1.10189

Jan, R. (1996). Rufaida Al-Asalmiya, the first Muslim nurse. Image: Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 28, 267-268.

Rassool, G. H. (2014). Cultural competence in caring for Muslim patients. Palgrave Macmillan.

Saeed, A. (2006). Islamic Thought: An Introduction. New York, USA: Routledge.

Sapountzi-Krepia, D. (2013). Some thoughts on nursing. Int J Caring Sci (6), 127-133.

2 thoughts on “Why Nursology?: The Perspective of an International PhD Student

  1. Toqa, Thank you very much for a very informative blog. It would be wonderful if you would write a commentary about how Sadat Hoseini’s conceptual model, which reflects Islam from an Iranian perspective, differs from Islam from a Saudi perspective. Jacqueline Fawcett

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  2. 4 June 19

    Eid Mubarak!

    Thank you so much for your thought-provoking reflection, Toqa Alanby! Perspectives from nurse scholars such as yourself help extend the thinking and cosmology of nursologists from varied backgrounds. You have exquisitely taken readers beyond categorical assumptions to fully appreciate cultural distinctions in expressions of health and nursing. You alluded to the work of Rufaidah bint Sa’ad/Rufaida Al-Asalmiya, who was born in the first century in Yathrib, Saudi Arabia. She was a bold, courageous, and compassionate Muslim woman who set up the first school of nursing for women (Anionwu, 2006). Chad O’Lynn (2006) reported that the first formal school of nursing for men was established in India in 250 B.C. The roots of nursology are much deeper and more complex than most realize. Please continue to inspire us with your scholarly ponderings as they continue to deepen and grow in complexity! We will be eagerly awaiting your next contribution to nursology!

    With gratitude,
    Maggie Dexheimer Pharris, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN

    Anionwu, E. (2006). A great Muslim nurse sets the standard for Nightingale and Seacole. Nursing Standard. 20(38), 31.

    O’Lynn, C.E. (2006).History of men in nursing : A review. In C.E. O’Lynn &R. E. Tranbarger (Eds.). Men in Nursing: History, Challenges, and Opportunities. New York, NY: Springer.

    Like

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